Four in 10 close contacts of virus patients not being reached by Test and Trace

Four in 10 close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in England are not being reached through Test and Trace, the latest figures show.

Just 60.3% of contacts were reached through the system in the week ending October 21. This is only slightly up from 59.6% in the previous week, which was the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began.

The Government is coming under increasing pressure to sack NHS Test and Trace chief Dido Harding amid concerns among ministers and MPs that the system is failing to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Despite this, it was revealed earlier this week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to have ‘full confidence’ in Baroness Harding.

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It comes as more than 1.5 million people in the West Midlands are set to be plunged into a tier three lockdown, following a ‘very worrying’ surge in Covid-19 cases.

London could also be on the verge of being placed under the harshest coronavirus lockdown restrictions after the R rate skyrocketed to as high as 2.9.

A total of 126,065 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to October 21, according to the new figures.

This is an increase of 23 per cent in positive cases on the previous week and is the highest weekly number since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

During the same week, 97.0% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate when cases were managed by local health protection teams.

For cases managed either online or by call centres, 58.1% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

Of the 120,442 people transferred to the Test and Trace system in the week to October 21, 80.5% were reached and asked to provide details of recent close contacts, the latest figures show.

This is down slightly on 81.7% in the previous week.

Some 17.6% of people transferred to Test and Trace in the week to October 21 were not reached while a further 1.9% did not provide any communication details.

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